Amateur Athlete: Jake Roberts

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — In just four years, Jake Roberts has emerged as one of the top BMX riders in the nation.

“The last three years he’s been the Southern Oregon district champion,” said Pete Roberts.

He started riding four years ago, and yet, he’s been racing nearly half his life. Jake is just nine years old.

“He kind of got started on a whim,” said Pete. “We didn’t know anything about the sport. Somebody that we knew said you could bring your kid out here and let him ride. He was 5 years-old at the time.”

His first time through the track was less than encouraging.

He crashed over the first jump, and I thought it was over as fast as it started, but he really took to it, loved it,” said Pete.

Two weeks later, Jake was competing. Four years after that, he’s one of the best in the country. He even has a nickname.

“When I racing at Eugene, the announcer came on and said, ‘Watch out for that kid. He’ll come up and bite you, like a rattlesnake,” said Jake.

When Jake crashed on his initial run, the older kids on the track picked him up. Jake quickly became a part of that BMX community.

“When they come out here to ride, they’re all BMXers. It doesn’t matter what the age is.”

Jake said he feels free when he’s riding and he calls his bike his best friend. At just nine years old, that friendship is just beginning.